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CEO Act for Kids
" When mum got drunk, Jessica, aged three, would hide for hours in a darkened stairwell to try and avoid being beaten. "
Children who have been abused are often highly alert and sensitive to changes in their environment. Theyre constantly on the look out for cues which might indicate a situation about to turn dangerous.
Jessica is four years old. She used to live in flat with her mum but she was removed when she was three. Her mum loves her, but when she got drunk which was often her mum would get angry and lash out at Jessica, beating and scratching her.
Even as a toddler Jessica learnt to read the danger signs; her mum would always drink from the same glass and smoke a lot, and then she would start to talk to herself, then yell. Thats when Jessica would know she had to go to her safe place.
Jessica would hide in the concrete stairwell of their building, and Mum usually didnt chase after her. Jessica would stay there for hours, sitting on the cold concrete with nothing to do except cry. When she thought her mum was asleep, she would sneak back inside the flat, if she hadnt been locked out.
To make matters worse, her mum made Jessica feel that the abuse was her fault.
" Emotional abuse and neglect; when the child is repeatedly made to feel frightened, ashamed, upset, alone or worthless, can be even more damaging long term than physical abuse. "
Although she is now living in a safe environment with a foster family Jessica remained constantly anxious and alert, finding it hard to relax in normal situations.
Jessica was four years old when she came to Act for Kids. She found it hard to trust adults, and was constantly on edge in their company. Our therapists have slowly shown her how to feel calm and regulate her anxiety, so that she is longer on high alert. Jessica now looks forward to seeing her therapist each week. She is starting to understand that it is not her fault her mum abused her. She now knows she deserves to be loved and cared for, just for being her.
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child protection Australia 2016-17
" Many children experience multiple forms of abuse and neglect. "
The majority (48%) experience emotional abuse, followed by neglect (24%). 16% experience physical abuse and 12% experience sexual abuse.
Abuse and neglect can impact a childs brain development, how they feel and think about themselves, how successful they are at school, even their physical development and skills. In the long term this can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and maintaining good relationships, unemployment and all sorts of social disadvantage.
With early and appropriate support, children and young people can overcome their experiences, and go on to have happy and productive lives.
Our team of experts works with kids like Jessica every day. We have waiting lists for our critical services; thanks to your support we can help many more.
We can’t do this important work without your help. We rely heavily on donations to support our intensive therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and early support for families at risk. Your donation will help us keep our doors open and expand our services.
Donations over $2 are tax deductible. Every donation, big or small, combines to make a real difference.CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW
Your generosity means we can continue providing our integrated therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and support services for families.
Becoming a Kids’ Crusader and donating monthly is the best way to help us help kids and families – it means we can direct funds where they’re needed most and make the biggest impact over time.
As an employee, workplace giving enables you to make a regular donation to Act for Kids through your payroll, directly from your pre-tax pay. This means that you receive an immediate tax saving as it reduces your taxable income.
By leaving a bequest to Act for Kids, you can make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people who have experienced abuse and neglect. By including Act for Kids in your will, you offer a gift of hope to future generations and you will help us give abused and neglected children the chance to lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives.
Dr Neil Carrington
Act for Kids
Luke, aged four, was found alone in an empty room at home. He had been horrendously neglected and could barely speak.
Five-year-old Maddie was physically, emotionally and verbally abused by her parents from birth, witnessing severe domestic violence and substance abuse, including Ice.
Neglected and scared, four-and-a-half year old Lacey-Jane began running away from prep school.
At three years old Thomas could barely walk or speak, and his body was covered in scratches.